1. Education
Send to a Friend via Email

Queen of Sheba

Biblical Reference and More

By

Queen-of-Sheba.jpg

King Solomon spying the Queen of Sheba, eastern miniature, 15th century. The queen is crossing a river, she's lifting her dress, Solomon is verifying her legs are not donkey or billy goat legs.

(Photo by APIC/Getty Images)
Queen-of-Sheba.jpg

Queen of Sheba worshipping the woods, detail from frescos of the church San Francesco d'Arezzo by Piero della Francesca (c.1415-1478) made in 1452-1459

(Photo by Apic/Getty Images)
Queen-of-Sheba.jpg

The Queen of Sheba (Detail of Interior Mosaics in the St. Mark's Basilica), 13th century. Found in the collection of the Saint Mark's Basilica, Venice.

(Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

The Queen of Sheba was the queen of a south Arabian country who went to visit the wise Biblical King Solomon, in about 1000 B.C. The Queen of Sheba's visit is told in I Kings 10: 1 - 13 and II Chronicles 9.

Sheba was a queen in her own right, possibly of the Sabaeans, although what exact area the she ruled over is debated. It may have covered Ethiopia and Yemen. In Muslim stories about the Queen of Sheba, her mother is a jinn.

Stories about the Queen of Sheba include:

  • the murder of her first husband so that she could rule alone,

  • her masculine hairy legs,

  • her "unnatural" refusal to remarry to bear children, and

  • Sheba's later subjugation to a husband from Yemen.

 

1 Kings 10:1-13

King James Version (KJV)

10 And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to prove him with hard questions.

And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.

And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not any thing hid from the king, which he told her not.

And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the house that he had built,

And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the Lord; there was no more spirit in her.

And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom.

Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.

Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom.

Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the Lord loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice.

10 And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon.

11 And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug trees, and precious stones.

12 And the king made of the almug trees pillars for the house of the Lord, and for the king's house, harps also and psalteries for singers: there came no such almug trees, nor were seen unto this day.

13 And king Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants.

 

2 Chronicles 9

King James Version (KJV)

And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to prove Solomon with hard questions at Jerusalem, with a very great company, and camels that bare spices, and gold in abundance, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.

And Solomon told her all her questions: and there was nothing hid from Solomon which he told her not.

And when the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built,

And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel; his cupbearers also, and their apparel; and his ascent by which he went up into the house of the Lord; there was no more spirit in her.

And she said to the king, It was a true report which I heard in mine own land of thine acts, and of thy wisdom:

Howbeit I believed not their words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the one half of the greatness of thy wisdom was not told me: for thou exceedest the fame that I heard.

Happy are thy men, and happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and hear thy wisdom.

Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee to set thee on his throne, to be king for the Lord thy God: because thy God loved Israel, to establish them for ever, therefore made he thee king over them, to do judgment and justice.

And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices great abundance, and precious stones: neither was there any such spice as the queen of Sheba gave king Solomon.

References:

  • Demonizing the Queen of Sheba: Boundaries of Gender and Culture in Postbiblical Judaism and Medieval Islam Jacob Lassner review by William M. Brinner. Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 116, No. 1. (Jan. - Mar., 1996), pp. 158-160.
  • [www.aiys.org/webdate/lass.html] Review of the same by Daniel Martin Varisco

 

Also Known As: Bilquis, Makeda

Examples: Who do you think you are, the Queen of Sheba?

Go to Other Ancient / Classical History Glossary pages beginning with the letter

a | b | c | d | e | f | g | h | i | j | k | l | m | n | o | p | q | r | s | t | u | v | wxyz

 

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.